US Airways announced
today that it will adjust systemwide capacity, slowing growth, by
returning 11 Boeing 737 aircraft to lessors beginning in May, as the
benefits of increased aircraft productivity expand across its network. Persistent and sustained high fuel costs as well as the weak revenue
environment caused by industry overcapacity and low fares also played a
significant role in the company’s decision.
Overall, the return of aircraft will result in a net reduction of only 14
flights systemwide compared to the February 2005 schedule, and the
discontinuation of service to two destinations, as most service will be
replaced with regional jets or by increased utilization of the mainline
existing fleet. Even with the May 2005 capacity adjustments, systemwide
available seat miles (ASMs) are expected to increase between 4 and 6
The May schedule includes a small change in service at US Airways’
Charlotte, N.C., and Philadelphia hubs as well as the discontinuation of
some flights at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.
With the new schedule, US Airways will operate one less daily departure
between Charlotte and Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Orlando and West Palm
Beach, Fla. In Philadelphia, US Airways will operate one less Hartford,
Conn., Buffalo, N.Y., Norfolk, Va., Seattle, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando,
Fla., flight. Additionally, three Philadelphia-Tampa, Fla., flights will
Nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale and Panama City, Panama; San
Salvador, El Salvador; San Juan and Newark also will be discontinued. With
the exception of Panama City and San Salvador, which US Airways no longer
will serve, customers in these cities still will be able to connect to
Fort Lauderdale via other US Airways cities.
Despite these reductions, US Airways has tripled the number of
destinations served (from five to 15) at Fort Lauderdale, with 80 percent
more capacity, since February 2004.
Pending the outcome of the company’s voluntary early-out program and
retirement decisions, at this time, US Airways does not foresee employee
furloughs as a result of these actions (with the exception of San Salvador
and Panama City).
“The revenue and fuel environment requires that we move quickly to retire
some of our older aircraft and weakest flying that simply cannot be
sustained,” said Bruce Ashby, US Airways executive vice president of
marketing and planning. “We are pleased with the positive impact of our
new productivity and scheduling enhancements and this decision will have
minimal impact on our customers. We must make some difficult decisions in
order to complete our restructuring and position the company for success.”